In one word……No.
And that’s probably a good thing. I would schedule all of MY favorite bands-and probably what I like is not what everybody else likes. My main stage would look something like Fleet Foxes, Devendra Banhart, Avett Brothers, Band of Horses, Bon Iver, My Morning Jacket, Bonnie Prince Billy…….I think I’m starting to recognize a theme here.
Beards! Only bands or singers with beards could play.
Hmmmmm….that leaves out chicks though. Let’s see…..I do believe I’ve seen a few dudes with beards in Laura Marling’s backing band. She’s in. Jessica Lea Mayfield has played with the Avett Bros. and they have beards so she’s in. There are a couple beards in Union Station so Alison Krauss is a go as well.
Well, well, well. I think I’m on to something here. Trevolutions Music Festival!!!!!!
So these artists are what I define-in my own mind-of what really good folk music would be. These are the artists that I put on and listen to at home. I will admit though that it is a pretty small sampling of what ‘folk’ music is.
So the Edmonton Folk Fest-to the dismay of many-doesn’t seem to be in touch with what’s hip and cool in the music scene. The Fest has been dismissed for catering to an older crowd and booking older artists. OK-I’m not going to argue this point. Music is so subjective it doesn’t really matter what I think is great and what you think sucks. It doesn’t matter. I thought Ben Harper and Van Morrison were unbelievable bookings and some people were thinking,”meh…not so much.”
So what is the Edmonton Folk Festival to me if none of my favorite bands are playing? Well-it has given me a gift far more precious than a venue to see all my favorite bands.
It has given me four glorious days of musical discovery-in my own city so I can sleep in own bed-for a phenomenally low price-in a spectacular setting-with incredibly easy access to get to-with 6 stages of music going on at once-that I can take my son to for free-. I can now appreciate elements of world music and the different genres of music that I would never experience if it were not for the Edmonton Folk Fest.
The biggest rush I get from music is listening to something that I have never heard before for the very first time and liking it. Hell…..loving it. The Trevolutions Music Fest……….well I will have heard every single song that is going to be sung. Don’t get me wrong. It would be a great music festival, for sure, but it would be missing something. That element of surprise.
Sure Terry could book Dan Mangan or Broken Social Scene or Stars or Hey Rosetta or Rural Alberta Advantage year after year. I like these bands but they’ve all played Edmonton numerous times over the last few years. I won’t complain if they do get booked but I’m not complaining that they don’t. I’ve learned to let go. I understand how the bookings go for the Edmonton Folk Fest and I’ve learned to like it. Hell…..love it.
I think I can best sum it up like this. Great music-to me-is an expression of emotion. There is a definite genre of music I gravitate towards but I can appreciate any type of music-as long as there is some kind of emotional bond that I can grab on to. And doing that live is an awesome experience.
I can best sum it up with a few examples.
Inuit Throat Singers with Shamik throwing down some beatbox. I was walking past Stage 5 and heard something I had never heard before. I only caught the last 15 minutes but it was one of the impressionable performances I had witnessed. Bizarre. Sensual. Primal. Visceral. Am I ever going to pop in this CD? No. But I’m glad I was able to be a part of this performance.
Shoeless, tiny, little Blues/Jazz singer John Boutte just beams with his love for New Orleans. This was one of my favorite performances I’ve seen at the Fest. His tambourine not so much an instrument but an extension of himself.
No footage of Sean Rowe at the fest so this is the best clip I could do. Pure emotion in his voice and lyrics. He did a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel which was like a punch to the guts. Awesome!!!
Again-no footage from Edmonton Folk Fest but this is a good clip. I was floored by him in 2009. Just such uplifting songs about his family, freedom and positivity. I can’t understand the lyrics but I sure as hell can feel them. His music is like a warm cup of cocoa.
I wanted to put this one in here. I missed this performance because it didn’t interest me but I sure heard about it after the fact though. People were raving about it. This is a great example of a workshop that just works. Niger band Etran Finitawa and Andrew Bird just have this connection-you can see it in this clip. I regret not seeing this live.
I loved Ben Harper, Van Morrison, Patrick Watson, Edward Sharpe, Steve Earle and on and on and on but the special memories. The ones that live in a special place in my musical heart (I can’t believe I just typed that) are the ones I was able to discover.
So is the Edmonton Folk Fest made for me? Well it wasn’t….but now it is. I’ve accepted it. It’s made for you if you accept it for what it is but isn’t that one of life’s most important lessons.
So in one word……yes.